The year 2020 has been taken for a rough start and we’ve seen a lot of extremely disappointing incidents. However, the concern of privacy from Chinese apps has been there for a very long time as experts have claimed that certain apps have misused or at least extracted data that can be private to most users. In very recent times, a lot of users have become more concerned about the dominance of Chinese apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
While the ban China apps moment started unofficially at first, the scenario quickly escalated, and the central government ended up taking a strong stance against these privacies violating Chinese apps and completely banned them in India. In a recent turn of events, we’ve seen 59 different Chinese apps being banned in India that have violated privacy policies in the past and put the data of its users at risk. This was a bold move by a government to ban such a vast list of applications for download and use in India and has left all the users looking for alternatives.
The list of banned applications includes common names such as TikTok, CamScanner, UC Browser, VivaVideo, and more which have displayed privacy-related concerns in the past. This move by the government during this heated times is to ensure that the data of Indian users of these Chinese apps are not misused by the Chinese companies or their government, this is even more of a concern because all the China-based companies have an obligation towards their government and this means we cannot be sure about the integrity of their privacy policies.
In recent times we’ve seen Mi Browser collecting search queries even in the incognito mode and sending them to China, similarly, we’ve seen TikTok being accused of sending Draft videos to servers in China. There have been many instances with one common issue: user data being sent to Chinese servers disregarding the privacy of users. Any data that is held in China is wide open to access by Chinese Authorities and this has sparked major concern among most users.
Most users feel that the app ecosystem in India and abroad has been taken over by the Chinese apps for the most part and are slowly trying to move away from this. We’ve also seen several people announcing their decision to reduce dependence on Chinese products including smartphones, appliances, and even smartphone applications now. If you feel the same and want to find alternatives for commonly used Chinese apps then here are a few to get you started.
Best Indian Alternatives To Chinese Apps
TikTok Alternative: ShareChat
TikTok has had many privacy issues in the past and it has been a major concern for many users. Recently, the US Senators also urged the FTC to investigate the wrongdoings of TikTok as they failed to remove videos of children under the age of 13. Apart from these multiple occurrences of blatant privacy violations, many users have become suspicious of apps that are based in China because of privacy concerns. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing based company, and has been accused of sharing user data with China in the past.
If you are looking for a made in India alternative, ShareChat is similar to TikTok, it is a social video platform and the company is based in India. Similar to TikTok, ShareChat allows you to create professional-looking videos and share them instantly. The app allows you to lip-sync, take up challenges, and create other music videos. The ShareChat app also allows users to communicate and interact with other users on the platform and supports more than 10 different languages. The app has crossed over 100 million downloads and is perhaps the best Indian alternative to TikTok.
UC Browser Alternative: Epic Web Browser
The famous UC Browser that came pre-installed on several smartphones is owned by Alibaba Group of China; it is one of the most popular web browsers across India. The app has been accused of several security and privacy issues in the past and the Citizen Lab even published a detailed study that showed the vast security vulnerabilities and privacy gaps within the app. The report concluded that a lot of personally identifiable information of its users was being sent to an Alibaba Analytics tool without any encryption.
While UC Browser released a new build quickly in an attempt to fix these issues, a lot of them are still not fixed, even the Indian government alleged UC Browser for some data theft in 2017. The two best alternatives to UC Web Browser by Indian developers are Epic Web Browser and JioBrowser. The Epic Web Browser is a great Indian alternative to China’s popular UC Browser and is developed by a Bangalore based company called Hidden Reflex. The web browser comes with in-built virus protection for users giving it an edge over other browsers. JioBrowser is yet another popular Indian browser that offers a fast and secure surfing experience. Similar to the UC Browser. even Jio Browser provides users with news and entertainment content.
Install Epic Web Browser
SHAREit Alternative: ShareAll
SHAREit is a file transfer application but is now slowly pivoting to a content providers platform. The app has also moved from its primary goal and is now catering to content creators. Over endured usage, we have found inappropriate content on the app and there are several concerns over the privacy in the SHAREit application. There are alternatives such as Xender but that too has been a lot of bloatware including Social Media downloader and the constant advertisements that make the user experience bad to worse. SHAREit has been in two security vulnerabilities in the last year that allowed attackers to download content from a user evading all the authentication mechanism.
If you are looking for a SHAREit alternative then ShareALL might be a good option, the app is developed by an India based developer and allows the transfer of all types of files without internet access or cables. The app is completely free and supports high-speed file sharing at ease, the app also doesn’t come with any inherent restrictions on the file size.
VivaVideo Alternative: Photo Video Maker with Music
VivaVideo is a popular app for editing videos easily on the smartphone. In a recent article, the app has been called Chinese spyware and the app also asks for way too many permissions that a video editing software doesn’t require. The Indian government had also blocked the app in 2017 for spying on Indian users. The best option for this would be Photo Video Maker with Music, this app is one of the really good HD Video Editor with all basic features to trim, cut, blur background, add music and more. It also comes with professional video editing tools and allows you to easily create professional-looking videos from the comfort of your smartphone.
Install: Photo Video Maker with Music
Zoom Alternative: Jio Meet, Say Namaste
While Zoom by itself is headquartered in California, the product development of Zoom mainly happens in China. China does not enforce strict data privacy laws and risks exposing the company to pressure and influence from the Chinese government. Recently Zoom was also seen routing non-Chinese calls through China server further sparking up more suspicion. If you are looking for a local desi alternative to Zoom then we have Jio Meet from Reliance Jio and Say Namaste from a private firm. There are several other international options including Google Meet and Cisco Webex but Say Namaste is the closest Indian alternative to the Zoom video conferencing app.
Adobe Scan (alternative for CamScanner)
CamScanner is a document scanning app introduced for mobile devices. It is a Chinese application that came to India in 2011. After being operational for 9 years, the app was banned in 2020. The Indian government banned it after finding out the app was processing a virus. After finding the trojan virus in the app that created security issues, it was banned. The app was taken down in October 2020.
An alternative to CamScanner is Adobe Scan. It is an application similar to CamScanner. It scans documents & converts them into images. The application is more efficient & preserves the quality of the documents.
It can be a perfect substitute for Cam Scanner.